Biden by the numbers
The numbers vary from poll to poll – as would be expected. There is one consistency, however. President Biden’s popularity is sinking like the Titanic.
The most recent Gallup poll has Biden’s favorable rating at 43 percent – the lowest of his 8-month presidency. For the first time, the majority of Americans have an unfavorable view of Biden – 53 percent unfavorable, to be specific. Biden fairs slightly better in the FiveThirtyEight poll – with a favorable rating of 44.8 percent and an unfavorable of 49.0 percent.
In recent polls, Biden consistently falls slightly below Vice President Harris in the opinion of the public. She is viewed favorably by 49 percent of the public.
Biden’s downward slide is largely due to a shift in the all-important independent voters. Just three months ago, 55 percent of independents gave Biden a favorable rating. That number has dropped to just 37 percent – an 18 point drop in just three months.
Comparing him to the 13 Presidents since Harry Truman — at this point in their presidencies — Biden fairs slightly better than only two of them – President Trump and President Gerald Ford. In many cases, Biden’s deficit is in double digits. He is 36.3 points below President George W. Bush’s 81.1 percent approval rating.
There are three questions that need to be answered – especially by the political operatives in the White House and the Democrats on Capitol Hill. What is causing it? What are the political ramifications? Can it be turned around?
If you use a baseball analogy – it’s three strikes and you’re out. Biden has two strikes – the border crisis and the botched Afghan policy. He cannot escape responsibility and blame for either one. The third strike is currently being delivered in the form of an increasingly controversial legislative package. The trillion-dollar Infrastructure Bill has bipartisan support – but the $3.5 to $5.5 trillion dollar –depending on who is counting — Reconciliation Bill is running into resistance within the Democratic Party and with the increasing numbers of voters.
There are other issues plaguing the President. Crime is soaring at record rates. The Democrat’s leniency on crime – especially among the powerful progressive wing of the Party – and the defund the police movement have given Republicans a distinct advantage among the public.
The principal ramification for presidents with low popularity ratings is that they lose the loyalty of their Party – especially in Congress. Elected officials do not generally follow a President who is sinking in popularity. Those in swing districts are especially vulnerable if they lock step behind an unpopular President.
This dive in the polls could not have come at a worse time for Biden. His signature legislative packages are slipping into uncertainty. Many of the votes he needs are from members of Congress who are heading into tough re-election campaigns. He may get his bipartisan Infrastructure Bill to his desk, but that is not a clear win for Democrats because it is bipartisan and relatively cheap. If Biden loses that, his political goose is cooked.
Perhaps the most significant ramification of Biden’s slippage will be seen in the 2022 midterm elections. Even before Biden’s numbers plummeted, most pundits predicted that the GOP would take control of the House. Unless Biden can somehow reclaim support from independents, a Republican House in 2023 would be all but a certainty – with a likely pick-up in the Senate.
The problem for Biden –and the Democrats – is that there is no easy fix to the issues that are driving the numbers down. There is almost no chance that the news regarding Afghanistan in the future will be good for Biden. Between now and November of 2022, there are likely to be a series of tragic stories relating to the Taliban takeover – like the ones we see already. The beheadings of America’s supporters, women being raped, people hung from cranes in public squares. These horrific events will continue for the foreseeable future. There may even be terrorist attacks on western nations and assets.
In terms of the border, there is no quick fix. Biden’s policies have launched an unprecedented wave of illegal border crossing. He has triggered the migration of tens of thousands in which women and girls are being raped, people are murdered and the drug carnelians prosper. Twenty percent of those arriving at the border have diseases – including Covid. None of this will not ebb as long as Democrats maintain what is essentially an open borders policy.
Many Democrats believe that the passage of Biden’s Build Back Better legislation will turn the tide of public opinion. It will give him a win. But maybe not. The massive expenditure and the resultant inflation will be seen fairly quickly. Not so much the promised benefits. That would be strike three for Biden.
All this bad news for Biden – and we do not know if his polling numbers have bottomed out. If they slip into the 30s, we may be looking at a lame-duck president. There is not much more he can do – or undo – before America goes to the polls in November of 2022 – slightly more than one year from today
So. There ‘tis.